Science Fiction is one of those things I love to read, but am not very apt at writing. I have an idea brewing in the back of my head for a series of novellas…but that’s like…a decade off. But I did a little work on it last night before tucking in and thought about the novels that have most inspired me in the realm of science fiction.
So, I did that thing I do, and I made a little list.
The rules of this list are simple. The first is that it has to be science fiction, not science fantasy. I am a person with opinions and my opinion is that science fiction and fantasy ought to be mostly separate. There are some exceptions to the rule…but not for this list. The second is that it cannot be a rewrite of someone else’s work. I do love John Scalzi’s take on Fuzzy Nation (it’s great go read it) but it would not fit this list.
Let’s do this.
5) The Foundation Series by Issac Asmiov
This one might seem like a no-brainer. There were three gods of modern science fiction and Asmiov was one of them. For me, however, he holds an extra special place. He was the first science fiction writer that I ever read and his foundation series still makes my heart flutter. I love robots, reimaginings of culture, and complex story lines. Asmiov scored on all three of these points.
4) The Confederation Series by Tanya Huff
Lady Space Marine? Check. Well done science fiction setting? Check. Intriguing plot and well written battle sequences? Check. Tanya Huff’s confederation series is what I would have loved to write if she hadn’t gotten there first. Though I’m glad she did. I was hooked when the story starts with Staff Sergent Torin Kerr waking up from a one night stand with a hot alien dude. It was a wonderful gender reversal for me and I was instantly enamored.
3) On Basilisk Station by David Weber
I keep saying that I don’t love military science fiction, but some of my absolute favorite books are definitely in that subgenre. I cannot site the entire Honor Harrington series as my favorite as I have only read the very first one ( I know, I’m terrible) but this book was good enough that I went out, joined the fan club, and spent money on an actual enlisted uniform for the Royal Manticoran Navy. The series is incredibly complex and in depth and I am in love, even from book one.
2) Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep by Philip K. Dick
Most people know this story as the book that inspired Blade Runner. I don’t feel that it gets much love and that makes me really sad. It’s a poignant look into the word of Artificial Intelligence, androids, and what it must be like to have a license to kill. This book introduced me to the modern idea of a dystopia. There are electronic animals, little wristlets where you punch in the mood you want to have, off world colonies, and marriages during depression. I love this book. My copy is falling apart.
1 ) The Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi
Okay, I said that I couldn’t use Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation, but I can put in the Old Man’s War. I picked up the first book during a stay at the hospital and if it could distract me from all the crap that was going on (and demand the next two int he series) it must be fantastic. There is something about genetically modified solders, culture clashing war, and fascinating main characters that just gets me salivating. Scalzi’s writing style in on point, managing to be bother serious and amusing. If you have never had the joy of reading his work…go change that.